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Seval Yildirim
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Anon- No. When I speak of ongoing discrimination against Muslims, I am not speaking of U.S. foreign policy (and related decisions like the recent embassy closures in the MENA region), the complexities of which cannot be reduced to racial and sectarian prejudice and discrimination. However, when the issue is undue interruptions of individual lives (as in the case of disrupting a bar examinee mid-exam), despite constitutional protections and other legal prohibitions (such as workplace laws), we can talk about ongoing discrimination. Jeff Clark- I am unclear as to why you are only focused on TSA discrimination. Again, it is only one context in which Muslims generally, and covering Muslim women specifically have experienced profiling and discrimination (see this 2008 ACLU report for other contexts: As the report also notes, other contexts of discrimination include the workplace, immigration, other law enforcement and schools. At the very least, the manner in which the proctor approached Ms. Abdulrazzak after the exam had started, and the tone of the note passed constitute sufficient reason for suspicion- at least for me. Moreover, state agents are not ordinary citizens, and are bound by laws that demand they not single out individuals based on various prejudices. I do not see how questioning state agents on discrimination is akin to profiling ordinary citizens whose actions are not supported by such authority. By that logic of not questioning the motives of those in positions of authority in midst of a discriminatory climate, we should never wonder about violations of individual liberties, because doing so would be profiling and discrimination in itself.
Jeff Clark- I am not sure how referencing a clearly established pattern of discrimination against Muslims especially since 9/11 is ironic. TSA discrimination is but one instance of this ongoing discrimination (which I have personally experienced in various contexts).
Albert Ross- As I understand, the approval is not in written form, thus would not have been available to present to the proctor. Anon- I do not know the answer to your question regarding the Massachusetts bar exam. I appreciate there are other potential concerns about face veils, such as concerns with identification, but even face veils can be accommodated. For example, a female proctor can confirm the examinee's identity in private prior to the exam. I have written about a Florida case involving a face veil, where I discuss my views on the issue in further detail. You can access the piece at
Harold, thank you for the link. I am still in Turkey (though not in Istanbul) and everyone (from all news outlets to ordinary citizens) are talking about the case. Although I agree with much of what Dani Rodrik has written, there are a variety of opinions on the street here with significant reasons why some (if not many) continue to support the Erdogan government and why some are not upset with the outcome in the case. I hope to cover some of these complexities in my next post about the case.
I want to note that I will delete all comments (past and future) that are not related to the substance of my posts, especially if they include personal attacks (against me or others) and/or are made anonymously. None of the ad hominem attacks here deserve a substantive response, but I do want to note that the internet does not provide all factual information about one's personal or professional life.
Dear Patrick, thank you for your thoughtful comments and the suggestion for the book- I will be sure to look at it when I return to the US. I agree with you that there is a distinction between the State and a regime/government, and maintaining such a distinction is useful and at times necessary in certain contexts. I think in the context of the Gezi protests, the protestors did not have a uniform complaint. Though initially the protests were framed around environmental concerns over the upcoming demolition of a park, after excessive police violence, they turned into a much broader coalition of interests. I will expand on this further as I report back on my conversations. Among the protestors, there are certainly groups who oppose the current regime and would like to see a return to the Kemalist status quo as it existed ten years ago when the current party first elected to the government. However, there are also many other groups/individuals who are concerned about the State, in the sense of continuous patterns of socio-political, economic and legal injustices that have been present since the founding of the Turkish Republic (and some since the Ottoman Empire times) regardless of the various political affiliations of the governments since. In fact, in some ways, the current Erdogan government has broken some of these instances of status quo (such as the military dominance/interference in civil politics) but in many other ways injustices continue or have become worse (such as gender justice related issues). In other words, for some groups who have always been peripheral to Power in Turkey, the protests are against the State, and not just the particular government. As for your comment about the significance of bodies- I am interested not only in non-violent protests, but also in violent protests as a matter of human dignity, if the State continuously engages in unjust conduct (such as decades of physical, cultural, linguistic, religious, economic subjugation or genocide) and leaves no meaningful means to peacefully challenge it through legitimate channels. I think at least in Turkey we see a combination of both peaceful and violent resistance (in the case of the Kurdish minority's armed resistance for the last three decades) as I will discuss in my later posts.
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Jul 16, 2013